Six Flags looks to technology to return company to profitability

Team members wipe down a ride at Six Flags Frontier City

Six Flags has announced its second quarter (Q2) earnings, and has also revealed that it is looking to technology to return the company to profitability amid COVID-19.

As anticipated, Six Flags reported weaker results for the second quarter and first half of 2020 compared to the same periods in 2019.

In Q2 2020, Six Flags reported a net loss of $136.9 million compared to a net income of $79.5 million in Q2 2019.

This has been attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and its negative impact on operations. In response, Six Flags has started a major transformation initiative to return the company to profitability.

Six Flags reports Q2 net loss of $136.9m

This involves reinvigorating long-term growth and shareholder value, including revenue growth, improved cost efficiencies and an enhanced guest experience.

“I am very proud of our team’s performance in the face of unprecedented challenges from the pandemic,” said Mike Spanos, president and CEO. “We have made transformational changes to park operations by leveraging our experience and technology to create industry-leading safety protocols.”

Spanos added: “Our team is taking actions that will allow us to emerge a stronger and more profitable company, and we have initiated a fundamental review of our business model with the goal of becoming a more agile, consumer-centric, and technology-savvy organization.”

Six Flags launched its holistic transformation initiative to reinvigorate revenue growth, reduce operating expenses and improve guests’ experience through technological advancements.

Improve guest experience through technology

The company is targeting significant improvement to its financial performance and the guest experience through the transformation initiative.

Six Flags has revealed little about the technology involved, but Spanos discussed Six Flags’ innovative online reservation system in a Q2 earnings conference call.

“If you’re a guest, you can go from making a reservation, paying for every element, get through security, and you’re never touched,” said Spanos.

“So our ability to implement technology and make it work… the guests… they love what we have done.”

On the company’s recovery after COVID-19, Spanos said that Six Flags parks have advantages as they are outside venues and are open many hours during the day.

‘Guests love the online reservation system’

He also pointed out that the parks are regionally diverse and that 90 percent of guests come within driving distance and are not dependent on air travel, unlike other attractions.

Spanos said that daily attendance will be limited to 25 to 30 percent of normal attendance for the foreseeable future, but that individual parks can operate with positive cash flow at that attendance level.

The plan is to focus on recapturing more single-day visitors, eliminating management redundancies between parks and corporate headquarters, and finding cost reductions by standardising purchasing.